The Finder’s column view displays files and folders in a hierarchical view that allows you to keep track of where you are within your Mac’s file system. Column view presents each level of a file or folder path in its own column, allowing you to see all of the items along a file or folder’s path.
Selecting Column View
You can display your files and folders in column view by clicking the ‘Column View’ button (the second button from the right in the group of four view buttons) at the top of a Finder window, or selecting ‘View, as Columns’ from the Finder menu.
Column View Advantages
Aside from the obvious advantage of being able to see an item’s path, one of the key features of column view is the ease of moving files and folders around. Unlike any of the other views, column view lets you copy or move files without having to open a second Finder window.
The other unique feature of column view is that the last column shows the same type of file attributes available in list view. Of course, it only shows attributes for the selected item, not all of the items in a column or folder.
Column View Disadvantages
Column view is dynamic, that is, the number of columns and where they are displayed within a Finder window can change. The changes usually occur when you are selecting or moving an item. This can make column view difficult to work with, at least until you get the hang of things.
Best Use of Column View
Column view is very good for moving or copying files. The ability to move and copy files using a single Finder window can’t be overstated for productivity and just plain ease of use. Column view is also ideal for those who really like to always know where they are in the file system.